Some danced and some just listened to the lively accordion-driven music at the first annual Steve Popovich Polka Pandemonium at the Beachland Ballroom Friday night. The event, which drew a full house, honored music industry legend Popovich, who had his biggest success — Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell — while based in Cleveland, and always had a deep love for the ethnic legacy of the city.
Denton, Texas’ Brave Combo, who won a polka Grammy in 1999 for a record on Popovich’s Cleveland International label, rolled out their distinctive mixture of polka, rock and weird novelty tunes, adding a polka feel to “Wooly Bully” and rocking out on “The Hokey Pokey.” Between their sets, Cleveland polka veterans Joey Miskulin, Eddie Rodick and Ron Sluga provided some straightahead polka and came back later to jam with Brave Combo. With a slide show of Popovich running in a loop throughout the evening, he appeared to nod in approval of their multiple-accordion-powered version of “Beer Barrel Polka.” The crowd certainly did.
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